Mikel Arteta pleads not to play behind closed doors
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss the match against Manchester City on New Year’s Day. Arsenal are on a run of four consecutive wins in the Premier League but will have to be without their manager on Saturday.
A statement on the official Arsenal website reads: “Mikel Arteta will miss our match against Manchester City on New Year’s Day after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Mikel is isolating in line with Government guidelines and we wish him well.”
It will also put into doubt Arteta’s presence at the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool next Thursday.
Arteta has now tested positive twice for COVID-19.
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The Spaniard’s positive test in March 2020 sparked the suspension of football in England due to the global pandemic.
The match between Arsenal and City is still currently set to go ahead this weekend.
But with three days still to go, more positive cases in the Arsenal camp could throw the game into doubt.
Arsenal had their home match against Wolves on Tuesday postponed due to positive cases in the visitors’ squad.
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However, the Gunners have also had a number of positive tests among their players.
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Calum Chambers all missed the Boxing Day win over Norwich after contracting the virus.
Albert Sambi Lokonga has recently returned to the match-day squad after he also spent a period in isolation following a positive test.
News of Arteta’s positive test comes after a record number of 103 cases were recorded in the Premier League in the period between December 20 and 26.
Scotland have reduced the number of fans that can attend matches to 500 due to the increase in cases.
Arteta stated last week that he does not want to return to a situation where there are no fans in the stadiums.
“Please don’t go back to that stage,” said Arteta.
“We have experienced that and it’s something we don’t like so hopefully it’s not what happens.
“It’s a different sport. Football is all about sharing it with people and having fans around the stadiums and when it is not, it is a completely different sport and the competition gets lost. It is not the same.”
The presence of supporters has seemingly had a positive impact on Arsenal.
The Gunners are fourth in the table after a fine turnaround in form from Arteta’s side in recent weeks.
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